1963 Austin Healey 3000 Technical Specification and History

1963 Austin Healey 3000 Mk IIa  for hire in Warwickshire - Technical Specification
1963 Austin Healey 3000 Mk IIa for hire in Warwickshire - Technical Specification
The ‘Big Healey’ started life in 1952 in its 100/4 guise with a 4 cylinder 2,660cc engine. In 1956 the car evolved into the 100/6 with a 6 cylinder 2,639cc engine.  Then in 1959 it became the Austin Healey 3000 with the 6 cylinder engine enlarged to 2,912cc.  All these cars had fairly Spartan interiors with side screen windows and a hood that took a couple of minutes to erect.

 

Then in 1963 the 3000 became civilised with the announcement of our model, the 3000 Sports Convertible (normally referred to as a MkIIA).  This has full wind up windows and a hood that can be erected in seconds rather than minutes.  The gear-lever was moved from the side of the gearbox to the top and brakes were up-rated with the addition of a servo. Ours is a fairly rare Austin Healey, one of only 499 BJ7 Right Hand Drive models built.

 

Construction:

 

The car is built on a strong chassis made from box section steel with an integral bulkhead making a very rigid car.  The body is mainly steel with the front and rear shrouds in aluminium.  The front screen is curved and the doors have quarter lights as well as wind up windows.

 

History of OKU 362A  

 

This car was extensively restored in 1991/2 including much new metalwork and a complete re-spray in its current colours of Sapphire Blue over Silver Grey.  The interior is in light blue leather with contrast dark blue piping and dark blue carpets.  It sports a new mohair hood with a zip down window making it a comfortable car in all weathers.  When we first saw the Healey, it was shod with new tyres on chrome wire wheels, but we are not a fan of wire wheels.  Most tyre companies can't balance them properly and if the car is driven hard the spokes can crack.  So we replaced them with silver Minilite replica wheels, which give a much better ride, avoid the risk of breaking spokes and are much easier to clean.  The car had very little use since the rebuild but was fully serviced in preparation for earning its living by going out on hire. 

 

A 1963 car would not have been fitted with seat belts but we have fitted inertia reel belts to both front seats for safety.  Although the car has two small rear seats, the front inertia reels now intrude into the rear seat space, and no rear seats belts are fitted.  Therefore despite the small rear seats we treat this car as a two seater sports car and it is insured for two people.   

 

Close up view of rear lights showing original arrangement with a single red light and reflector mounted above it.Close up of rear lights lights showing new orange indicator installed in place of the small reflector.  Larger BJ8 reflectors have been fitted to the bumper brackets.In September 2009 as part of our process of continual improvement we made some changes to the rear lights on the Healey.  All early Healeys up to and including our BJ7 were built with a single rear light on each side of the car.  The one red light worked as side light, brake light and acted as the indicator which meant that when braking, the brake light flashes.  For the final model of the Healey - the BJ8, the manufacturers changed this layout and installed separate orange indicator lamps. 

 

While none of our customers have ever been rear ended this combination is not very visible and I wanted to improve the lights.  It is not possible to use the BJ8 lights on our car as the lamp housings aren't the same size. 

 

AH Spares in Southam offered a conversion kit which replaced the small reflector with a small, orange, indicator fitting.  Legally all cars must have rear reflectors so brackets and new large reflectors were fitted to the rear bumpers.  Now the car has separate brake lights and indicators improving the visibility to following traffic.

 

 

On 14th December 2009 I took our Austin Healey out on a road test after fitting a set of new rear springs and improving the bump stops.  The mileage was about 99,950 so I took my camera along and extended the road test a bit so that I could take pictures of the speedo as it went round the clock, past 99,999 and back to 00,000.

 

We don't know the car's entire history but it had about 75,000 miles on the clock when we bought it at the end of 2005, so while the speedo makes it look like a low mileage car, by the end of 2009 we and our customers had driven 25,000 out of its 100,000 miles.

 

 

Over the years we made a few improvements to the instrumentation and controls.  Oil warning light installed in centre of dash on our 1963 Austin Healey 3000

  • The car has an oil pressure gauge, which since installing the smaller diameter steering wheel, is obscured by the steering wheel rim and the driver's left hand.  This means that the driver may not see if the oil pressure were to drop. We have added an orange oil pressure warning light to supplement the gauge.  
  • To remind drivers that they have engaged overdrive we have changed the standard switch for one with an orange LED warning light in the toggle. 
  • Finally we have added a hazard warning light switch, just in case the car does break down.

 

Stainless Steel Front bumper and new chrome bonnet grille on our 1963 Austin Healey 3000Stainless Steel rear bumper on our 1963 Austin Healey 3000In January 2016  we replaced most of the chrome work on our Healey as it had worn a bit thin over many years of polishing. New bonnet grille parts and door handles were sourced from AH Spares in Southam.  The biggest chrome items on a Healey are the bumpers and after having had a problem with a company when we re-chromed the bumpers on our Jaguar E-Type in 2015, I decided to replace instead of re-chrome them, but with polished stainless steel ones rather than chrome. 

 

These were sourced from Group Harrington, who manufacture them in Vietnam.  They are excellent quality, look fantastic and I will no longer have to worry about chrome pitting, rusting or wearing thin through polishing.  For full fitting details see our blog.

 

Technical:  

 

  • Length 13ft 1.5in (4.00 m), width 5ft 0.5in (1.54 m), height 4ft 1in (1.24 m), weight 22.5 cwts (2,520 lbs, 1,143 kg).
  • Engine 2,912 cc six cylinder engine with overhead valves.
  • Develops 131 bhp at 4,750 rpm and 167 lb ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. The engine is fed by twin SU HS6 1¾ inch carburettors mounted on a heated inlet manifold.
  • Contact breaker points gap (where fitted) 0.014 to 0.016 in  (0.36 to 0.41 mm)
  • Spark plug gaps 0.025 in (0.64 mm) 
  • 4 speed gearbox with overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears.

  • Servo assisted brakes with discs front and rear drums.
  • Front suspension: independent, double wishbones, coil springs, with lever arm dampers and anti-roll bar.
  • Rear suspension: live axle with semi-elliptic springs, Panhard rod and double acting lever arm dampers.
  • Cam and peg steering with 17 in adjustable three spoke steering wheel; with a turning circle of 35½ feet (10.8 m).
  • Wheels: centre lock Minilite type 15 inch alloy wheels with 165/R15 radial tyres. 
  • Tyre pressures (pounds per square inch): Front 20, Rear 25 
  • 0-60 in 9.8 secs. 
  • Top speed 122 mph.
  • Fuel consumption – 17 to 22 miles per gallon.


 

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